Women’s History Month Featuring: Emily Jarvis

Emily Jarvis, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, speaking with a student.
Emily Jarvis, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, with a student.

Each year March is dedicated to Women’s History Month. LMU Seaver College is celebrating this month by featuring some of the amazing women in our college, who are extremely successful in their fields. Cheers to celebrating Seaver’s own wonder women! Here we feature a Q and A with Emily Jarvis, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry.

Q: Please share with us why you wanted to pursue your Ph.D. and work in higher education?

A: I really enjoyed learning, found the ideas of quantum mechanics fascinating and fun to explore, loved the undergraduate college experience and wanted to find ways to share that with future students.

Q: When you advise students, what words of wisdom do you find yourself sharing consistently with different students over the years?

A: I think a key concept I find myself sharing is that life is a journey not a destination. I think a lot of students see their four years in college and this sort of looming “drop off” come graduation that is sort of scary in its unknown.  Sometimes I feel this forces students to rush into a plan just to have a plan rather than because it is what they want to be working towards. If they can take a step back and think about their goals and a (potentially multi-year) plan for how to get there, it can make that day of graduation still a big deal but less all-encompassing.  A couple of quotes I’ve liked recently that relate to this theme are from Michael Jordan, “You must expect great things of yourself before you can do them” and Bill Gates, “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.”

Q: As a woman in STEM, is there a woman that you’ve looked up to or who has influenced the work you do? Who is that person? And how did they influence you?

A: My graduate advisor Emily Carter is the Dean of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Princeton University.  She definitely has served as a role model and inspiration to me in promoting women in STEM over the years. In a different way, Senator Olympia Snowe (former U.S. Senator from Maine) with whom I worked as a science policy advisor in the early 2000s taught me a lot about public policy including considering how to encourage women in the workforce. In addition, my undergraduate research advisor Jane Ganske was probably my first major STEM role model (while even my high school chemistry teacher was somewhat influential!)

Screenwriting major Abigail Braccia and entrepreneurship major Sara Appelqvist contributed to the Women’s History Month series. This article was written by communications major Jordan Lindsey.